Monday, March 26, 2012

Keeping the faith

Kelantan’s  Onyekachi Nwoha
Kelantan’s Onyekachi Nwoha (left) fights for the ball with SPA’s Noor Azizi in the first leg of the FA Cup match on Saturday. Kelantan won 3-0. Pic by Syarafiq Abd Samad

IMPRESSED: Coach Bojan believes on Nwoha will come good as Kelantan fans lose patience with striker

KELANTAN fans may have lost their patience with  Onyekachi Nwoha but the Nigerian striker has impressed his coach Bojan Hodak.   

The 29-year-old, a replacement for the ineffective Liberian Mohamad Ghaddar, has not scored for Kelantan since making his debut for the east coast side in last month's Super League match against Selangor.

   And Nwoha is more often than not booed by Kelantan fans whenever he plays because of his inability to find the net in eight appearances to date.

   Bojan, however, believes the striker will eventually come good.   On Saturday, Nwoha was instrumental in Kelantan's 3-0 win over FAM league side Public Service Commission (SPA) in the first leg of the FA Cup in Bukit Jalil.

   "He is growing in confidence and today (Saturday), he showed glimpses of his potential by creating all our goals. I have no complains and the Kelantan fans, I hope, will soon accept him," said Bojan at the National Stadium on Saturday.

   "Nwoha is our best option up-front in the absence of the injured Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, and he has so far been enterprising."

   Captain Badhri Radzi put Kelantan ahead in  stoppage time of the first half before Norfarhan Mohammad's strikes in the 54th and 67th minutes but it could have been a different story had SPA scored from two glorious attempts when Khairol Azry Abdul Rahman and Nur Saiful Abdul Rahman both hit the woodwork.

   "Yes, we could have struggled if SPA had scored from those attempts. However, we also had attempts, which were cleared on the line," said Hodak. "Credit, however, to SPA for giving us a fight. They are a very good team but inexperienced. If they continue with their form, they will earn Premier League promotion next season."

      Kelantan tested fringe players in the absence of national goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Norshahrul, Azizi Matt Rose and Aziz Ismail, who were on the crock list, and Hodak was happy with their performance.

   SPA coach Mohd Nidzam Jamil praised his amateurs for their effort and attitude.

   "For most of my players, it was a new experience playing infront of 10,000 fans but they managed to stay focused and give Kelantan a tough time," said Mohd Nidzam.

   "I couldn't be happier performance-wise. We had two or three great chances but we failed to find the target".

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